International Collaboration Sparks Innovation in Statistical Methods at Makerere University

 In a remarkable display of international collaboration, Makerere University Kampala, Uganda, recently hosted a dynamic workshop on multivariate statistics and time series analysis. This event, held from June 11 to June 20, 2024, brought together academic staff and students from Makerere’s School of Statistics and Planning, alongside esteemed professors from the University of Padova, Italy. Funded by the Erasmus Mundus Plus program, this workshop exemplifies the transformative potential of global partnerships in higher education.

The Erasmus program, a pillar of the European Union’s educational initiatives for over 35 years, expanded its reach beyond Europe in 2015. Through the International Credit Mobility (ICM) scheme, Erasmus+ has enabled students and staff from around the world to engage in enriching educational exchanges. Makerere University’s participation in the ERASMUS+ KA171 program aligns seamlessly with its 2020-2030 Strategic Plan, aiming to foster a research-led, responsive university with a versatile workforce.

The collaboration between Makerere University and the University of Padova, rooted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), underscores a commitment to academic exchange and innovation. This partnership has already seen three graduate students from Makerere—two Master of Statistics students and one PhD candidate—embark on transformative research experiences at the University of Padova. Additionally, academic staff from Makerere have engaged in reciprocal visits, fostering a vibrant exchange of knowledge and expertise.

The workshop featured intensive training modules led by distinguished professors from the University of Padova. Prof. Bruno Scarpa, an expert in multivariate statistics, and Prof. Mariangela Guidolin, a renowned scholar in time series analysis. The two delivered comprehensive sessions designed to elevate the research capabilities of Makerere’s academic community. Coordinated by Dr. Felix Wamono, the training aimed to reinvigorate the teaching and application of these advanced statistical methods within the university.

Prof. Bbaale and Prof. Wokadala hand over a gift to Prof. Mariangela Guidolin

Participants included 20 individuals—ten academic staff and ten graduate students—drawn from the Departments of Statistical Methods & Actuarial Science (SMAS), Planning and Applied Statistics, and Population Studies. For over eight days, attendees engaged in rigorous morning sessions from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, followed by collaborative afternoon discussions focused on enhancing teaching strategies and exploring new research avenues.

The workshop’s impact extends beyond immediate academic enrichment. It has fostered stronger networks between Makerere University and its international partners, paving the way for future collaborations. Dr. Saint Kizito Omala, former chair of the Department of Statistical Methods and Natural Science and a key advocate for international partnerships, emphasized the significance of these exchanges. His efforts have not only facilitated the current workshop but also supported ongoing student placements and collaborative research projects.

One notable outcome of these collaborations is a published paper co-authored by Richard Turagilize from the Department of Planning and Applied Statistics and Professor Basti from Italy. Such achievements show the tangible benefits of these international engagements, which enhance the research profiles of both institutions and contribute to the global academic community

As the workshop concluded, Principal Professor Edward Bbaale expressed profound gratitude to the visiting professors and commended the participants for their active involvement. He highlighted the importance of equipping Makerere University with the right tools for meaningful research training, noting that the institution’s commitment to graduate training is pivotal for its future.

Prof. Bbaale and Prof. Wokadala hand over a gift to Prof. Bruno Scarpa

The Deputy Principal and Dean of the School of Statistics congratulated the research team upon winning the grant, saying that it was a testament to their hard work and dedication. He also emphasized the need for continued collaboration with international partners to further enhance research capabilities at Makerere University.

The Erasmus+ KA171 program’s support for this workshop has not only strengthened the academic capacities of Makerere University but also reinforced its strategic vision of internationalization and research excellence. The university looks forward to continuing its fruitful partnership with the University of Padova, anticipating further advancements in statistical research and education.

In the spirit of collaboration and innovation, Makerere University stands focused to make significant strides in the advancement of statistical methods, contributing to the global academic community and enhancing its own research-led mission.


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